That Little Itch Might Be Telling You Something

That Little Itch Might Be Telling You Something
A famous tagline when I grew up for the famous dandruff shampoo which can actually be a fungus. (The active ingredients of such shampoos are often antifungal)
Albendazole is another remedy for itchiness at the other end of the body, usually at night, commonly called worms. The itchiness comes from the female worms who wriggle their way outside to lay their eggs.????

Monks with this condition are left in a state of controversy since these pills will kill the worms. Never the less, a commercial sized box of Albendazole packets is well stocked in our monastery clinic. By U.S. standards, it may perhaps costs thousands of dollars per commercial box of packets. A single course of three pills, which calculates to $600 USD by weight in America, can be easily obtained for about less than $2.00 retail locally in Asia. I am not sure why it is so tightly controlled since it is virtually considered clinically harmless (to the ones who take it, excluding pregnant mothers). (See wikipedia).

From Wikipedia….2014 offline edition "Albendazole"
Controversy:
Since 2010, with the current sole FDA-approved distributor, the U.S. price of albendazole has increased by >4000% to over US$100 per 200mg tablet. GSK remains the manufacturer, and the U.S. product is manufactured in Canada. The international wholesale price is typically less than US$0.05 per 200mg tablet.

The USA has it all backwards.. They cry for more insurance when common healthcare should be affordable without it. Not, only that, you will need an expensive laboratory stool test before the doctor will prescribe this expensive medicine. One is left of the cost of:
1) The Doctor's visit
2) The test (up to three of them)
3) The Medicine itself.
Therefore a case of common worms in the tropical parts of the USA could cost upwards near to $1000. Where an Asian person may go to the doctor if the pills do not relieve the nocturnal itching. They are also used for prevention on a 3 to 6 month schedule.

In This American Life, "Less is More," a previous VP or CEO of an insurance company said, "The insurance companies make a percentage from what they pay out. If God were to wave his magic wand and cut healthcare costs in half, the insurance companies would not like that one bit." (Approximate quote from memory)

The distorted propaganda about imported medicines being counterfeit might be true if you are looking to buy cheap GSK pills in the USA sent from India over EBay. You might wonder who does these studies and who sponsors them? However, "counterfeit" does not mean they are sugar pills. It just means they have a counterfeit company name on the box. At $0.05 per 200 mg, sugar pills might cost more to put in an expensive fake GSK box than the real thing made by a legit Indian pharmaceutical company. When Big Pharma says they donate millions of dollars of medicine to Third World Countries, and charge high prices in America to offset their costs, you might wonder what they are donating and if actual cash might be more efficient; to buy Asian produced medicines at a fraction of the cost. Not only that, it will lower the carbon footprint from shipping costs and help the Asian economy.


Article by Bhikkhu Subhuti

Bhikkhu Subhuti is an American Buddhist Monk with roots in both Sri Lanka and Myanmar Forest Traditions. He currently resides in Myanmar but his heart sometimes floats back to Kauai, HI where he spent six months in 2015.